News & Views

Lithuanian Defense Ministry’s Glorification of Nazi Collaborator K. Škirpa Still on Website


[UPDATED / ORIGINAL REPORT 3 MARCH 2020]

COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |   KAUNAS MARCHES EU  |  OPINION 

Believe it or not, the Defense Ministry still flaunts its magazine cover glorifying Lithuania’s major “Holocaust advocate” on its website with no editorial comment or disclaimer from the defense minister (as PDF). Who was K. Škirpa?

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‘Weekly of Vilnius’ Is Again Only Vilnius Publication to Give Both Sides of Story



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  NOREIKA  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  | HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Once again, The Weekly of Vilnius, considered by some to be this city’s most prestigious English-language news publication, was the only major media outlet here to “give both sides of the story” on the recent court judgment of Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court’s 1 April decision in effect proclaiming that Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika is a national hero, unblemished by his involvement in the ghettoization, pillaging and destruction of thousands of his fellow citizens who were Jewish. Various state institutions, most notoriously the far-right Genocide Research Center, continue to spend lavishly on the glorification of Holocaust collaborators. See Defending History’s report, which includes links to other media coverage in Lithuanian and English.

A PDF facsimile of the Weekly of Vilnius report, in its issue for 30 March to 5 April 2020, follows (with permission of the publishers). Please use the arrows in the upper left hand corner to turn pages in either direction.

THE WEEKLY OF VILNIUS 3 PP
Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on ‘Weekly of Vilnius’ Is Again Only Vilnius Publication to Give Both Sides of Story

Mounting International Opposition to Vilnius Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery


[last update]


JUMP TO INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION

MARCH 2020: GROUP OF MAJOR LITVAK RABBIS, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH EVANGELICALS IN DC, LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE

FEB 2020: MEMBER OF LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKS OUT; MEDIA COVERS COURT CASE (CITING PROF. J. PARASONIS); DOYEN OF LITVAK RABBIS SPEAKS OUT

JAN 2020: VIDEO OF MAJOR LITVAK RABBIS MEETING WITH LITHUANIA’S AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL; JULIUS NORWILLA’S ARTICLE IN MAINSTREAM LITHUANIA MEDIA (LRT REPRINT)

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Posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mounting International Opposition to Vilnius Convention Center in Old Jewish Cemetery

Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court Reconfirms ‘National Hero’ Status of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



THE NOREIKA DEBATE FROM 2012 ONWARD  |  COLLABORATGORS GLORIFIED   |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE

VILNIUS—Coronavirus or not, Vilnius’s Supreme Administrative Court yesterday issued its dismissal of the appeal against an earlier court ruling that effectively codified in Lithuanian law the conclusion that Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika is indeed a national hero. The Noreika saga reached the English speaking world in 2012, when Evaldas Balčiūnas’s article appeared in Defending History. Mr. Balčiūnas followed up with articles on other perpetrators glorified by the state, and was harassed by years of kangaroo prosecutions (scroll down to May 2014, further articles following). Thereafter, challenges were mounted both here and abroad  to state-sponsored glorification, in a NATO/EU state, of a proven Holocaust collaborator. These  have included Californian-resident wealth adviser Grant Gochin, Vilnius-resident Lithuanian-American scholar Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, who curates a website on the subject, and, most sensationally, Noreika’s own American-born grandsaughter, the Chicago-based author and educator Silvia Foti, whose 2018 article in Salon led to international media coverage and work on a feature film project. The current court ruling was in response to the case brought by Mr. Gochin, many of whose relatives perished in the part of Lithuania where Noreika operated, and for which the research was done by Dr. Kulikauskas and Mr. Balčiūnas. Last spring, the case resulted in the government-sponsored Genocide Center issuing a far-right Holocaust revisionist manifesto.

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Books in the Current Debate


[updated]


Alexander Gendler: Khurbm: 1914-1922

Leyb Koniuchowsky & Jonathan Boyarin: The Lithuanian Slaughter of its Jews: Testimonies of 121 Survivors of the Holocaust in Lithuania

Dan Rabinowitz: The Lost Library

Allan Nadler’s review in JRB

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The West Once Again Silent as Latvia Glorifies its Waffen SS


[UPDATED. FIRST PUBLICATION 14 FEB. 2020 UNDER TITLE ‘WILL THE WEST REMAIN SILENT AS LATVIA PREPAREDS TO GLORIFY ITS WARTIME WAFFEN SS?’]


OPINION  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  MARCHES SECTION  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Monica Lowenberg

Since 1998, former Latvian SS have each and every year on the 16th of March been marching in the capital city of Riga to commemorate their fallen colleagues whom they perceive as war heroes. The marches have over the years increased in alarming numbers and have even been publicly condoned by Latvian officials. In the heart of NATO in Riga, more than 2,500 people, amongst them Latvian politicians, have been known to annually pay tribute to Latvians who fought on the side of Nazi Germany in Waffen SS detachments during World War II.

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on The West Once Again Silent as Latvia Glorifies its Waffen SS

Eyewitness Report: March 11th Far Right March & Rally in Central Vilnius



MARCHES SECTION  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Julius Norwilla

The Totenkopf flag, with the “Lithuanian swastika” upper right, has featured each year. Swastikas were legalized by Lithuanian courts in 2010. Photo: Julius Norwilla.

VILNIUS—It was Wednesday March 11th at around 4 PM. The procession of the “nationalists” began, as usual,  in the heart of the Lithuanian capital, with authorities’ permission, at the city’s medieval Cathedral Square. It made its way up the central boulevard, Gedimino, up to Lukiškės Square, a stone’s throw from the nation’s Seimas, or parliament.

Only Defending History came out to monitor the march. . .

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Revealed: The “Secret Vilna Cemetery Agreement” of Dec. 2019



DOCUMENTS  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION

VILNIUS—On 19 December 2019, Defending History reported on the “Day of Shame” in this city, when representatives of the discredited “CPJCE” rabbis in London, a Haifa geotechnical  specialist in tow, and the head of the state-sponsored “official” Jewish community together allegedly “morally sold out” the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery to Turto Bankas, a Lithuanian government state agency for development as a convention center where people would cheer, clap, sing, dance, drink at bars and flush toilets surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves on all four sides, including some of the greatest Jewish scholars of the last five hundred years. The international opposition to the “convention center in the cemetery” has been massive. It is a human rights issue in so far as such fates do not await cemeteries of the religious or ethnic majority.

The court hearing documents, kept secret in Vilnius, were released by a conscience-stricken London employee last week, and appear here in full translation for the benefit of all following the case. There are by now around 160 individual plaintiffs accepted by the court (who have signed affidavits affirming the burial of their ancestors and relatives in the cemetery); the court documents continue to refer by name to the first plaintiff only. In the interests of personal privacy, his/her name is blocked out. The trial is scheduled for 7 May.

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On Representation and Morality: Thoughts on Recent TV Interview with Nominal “Chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community”



OPINION   |  MEDIA WATCH  | JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Josif Parasonis (Vilnius)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a working translation, approved by Prof. Parasonis, of his  27 Feb. 2020 article in Lithuanian that appeared on the website of LRT (Lithuanian Radio and Television network), in response to LRT’s 24 January television interview with the chairperson of the (state-sponsored) Lithuanian Jewish Community (translation of the interview; reference in the article to an earlier program is to a 2018 broadcast, online here, at 22 min. mark). Shortly after the appearance of Prof. Parasonis’s article, the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish Community  (VJC) confirmed on its Facebook page that he represents the position of the VJC. A Russian version also appears on the VJC’s page.  In the event of any matter arising in the text, Prof. Parasonis’s Lithuanian original alone is authoritative. 

The trailer for the 24 January 2020 show on the “Lietuvos Rytas” TV channel was quite intriguing: “Faina Kukliansky on the still resilient discrimination against Jews.” In the course of the program, speaking to its mass audience, the official chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Faina Kukliansky, made a series of dubious statements, some of which are incompatible with moral norms, and some of which may be incompatible with the laws of our country. In my opinion, the public space continues to pretend that the program “never took place.” I have therefore found it necessary to share my thoughts with the public.

The discussion on the program was about Lithuanian Jews, their relations to Lithuanians, the guest’s career and her personal life. When it came to Lithuanian Jews, Ms. Kukliansky talked about them in the past tense, as if she were not one of them, in a dismissive manner: “They are no longer here, they were murdered, it’s not worth harassing the remaining ones. […] Perhaps we could say that there would have been many Einsteins among those who were killed.”

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‘United Lithuania’ Invites Public to Lithuanian Independence Day Event at Old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery



EVENTS  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION

VILNIUS—Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, the editor of the Vieninga Lietuva (United Lithuania) website, and a contributor to Defending History for some years, has announced an event scheduled for 13:30—15:00 this Wednesday, March 11, on the 30th anniversary of Lithuania’s independence from the Soviet Union, at the site of Vilnius’s oldest Jewish Cemetery, on the grass between Rinktinės street and the Soviet-built Sports Palace, which desecrated the cemetery. This is part of a series of monthly gatherings at the site to grow a network of activists who foster Lithuanian and Litvak friendship.

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Antisemitism at the Aalst Carnival Parade in Belgium



ANTISEMITISM  |  BELGIUM  |  EU  | OPINION

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

Last month, on February 23, 2020, hundreds of individuals, associations and decorated wagons marched or rolled through the streets of the center of Aalst in what is known as their unique form of celebrating “Carnival,” mainly as a moment of self and free expression where and when king, royalties, clergy, politicians, film stars, VIPs, world events, are objects of satire, fun, criticism, be it with effigies, people dressed up or with placards of panels written in their nearly cryptic local dialect.

Aalst is a small, drab city in the Province of Eastern Flanders. The first time Aalst made world news was on the evening of November 9, 1985 when a mass killing by unknown semi-military killers ( “the Brabant Killers” in French and “de Bende van Nijvel” in Dutch) left eight people dead in the supermarket Delhaize, at the periphery of the city. It is a mass killing still under investigation nowadays by the Belgian Police authorities.

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Those Thousands of Yiddish Books in Vilnius?



OPINION  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  |  VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE

VILNIUS—Reports are mounting of inquiries about thousands of Yiddish books donated between 2000 and 2018 to “Vilnius University’s Yiddish institute” being met with Orwellian responses along the lines of “they have been deposited until further donors come forward.” After the Vilnius Yiddish Institute was closed down in 2018, and the one actual Yiddish activity of its final eight years, the intensive Vilnius Yiddish summer program, abruptly discontinued, its executive director, Dr. Sarunas Liekis, a longtime member of the state’s “red-brown commission” on Nazi and Soviet crimes, made the books unavailable to students, local and visiting scholars and the wider community. According to sources, a claim is being made that they are the personal property of the heirs of the late Richard Maullin, the donor who “bought” the (some say fictitious) shares of the institute for $25,000 from Tel Aviv resident Mendy Cahan in 2005, and then, in 2010, purged the institute of Yiddish professors not willing to go along with state Holocaust revisionist PR (Maullin was honored by a Lithuanian government medal in 2015). As a result, the “Yiddish” institute was left with no Yiddish teachers for eleven months a year from 2010 onward, but continued with the widely acclaimed summer course that was established in Oxford in 1982 and moved to Vilnius in 1998.

A documented history of these events is provided by Defending History.

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DH Community Invites Readers to Join Monitoring Team for “Nationalist” March 11th Vilnius March



VILNIUS—The entire Defending History community celebrates Lithuania’s independence day this coming Wednesday March 11th. Lithuania’s independence and democracy, like those of of neighboring EU/NATO states, are splendid success stories in the annuals of the region. All the more reason to be vigilant — as genuine friends of the Baltics are — against those who would try to insert Nazist values of ethnic hatred and Holocaust revisionism into the mix. We sincerely hope that the “nationalist” march for which the beautiful center of Vilnius is gifted each year will this year not glorify local Holocaust and Nazi collaborators, will not heap scorn on  the nation’s minorities and will not flaunt fascist symbols.

The Defending History team has been monitoring these events since 2008

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Vilnius Braces for May 7th “Jewish Cemetery Trial of Century”; Around 160 Plaintiffs Recognized by Court



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  CPJCE (LONDON)  |  USCPAHA (WASHINGTON DC)

VILNIUS—At a hearing at the District Court of Vilnius City, at Laisves Prospect 79A on Monday, the presiding judge set Thursday May 7th 2020 as the date of the trial over plans of the state-financed property bank, “Turto Bankas” to establish a national convention center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. The plaintiffs in the case are Jewish people whose ancestors and relatives are still buried in the old cemetery, at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius). Of hundreds of claims submitted, sources close to the court reported that “around 160” have been accepted as legal plaintiffs for the trial, which is expected to attract expert witnesses from the United States and Israel as well as foreign media interest. There has been extensive international opposition to the convention center project, including impassioned pleas from major Lithuanian-origin rabbis internationally, most recently the doyen of Litvak rabbis, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a nephew of Vilna’s prewar Chazon Ish. A petition by Vilnius native Ruta Bloshtein has garnered some 47,000 signatures.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Braces for May 7th “Jewish Cemetery Trial of Century”; Around 160 Plaintiffs Recognized by Court

Two Invitations for March 11th


 


Come Join DH’s Monitoring Team

(March 11th, 3:15 PM)

The entire Defending History community joyously celebrates Lithuania’s independence day this Wed. March 11th. We sincerely hope that the “nationalist” march for which the beautiful center of Vilnius is gifted each year will this year not glorify local Holocaust and Nazi collaborators, will not heap scorn on  the nation’s minorities and will not flaunt fascist symbols. We have been monitoring these events since 2008, and invite colleagues to join our small team of observers this Wednesday, March 11th, 3:15 PM at Cathedral Square, Vilnius, who will then monitor the march on Gedimino Blvd. to the Seimas.

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As Usual, Leaders of Far-Right March Glorifying Holocaust Perpetrators Target DH Monitors…



  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  MARCHES SECTION  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

VILNIUS—Yet again, the far right organizations that choose to glorify their country’s Nazi and Holocaust collaborators, also choose to target the human rights monitors who come to document their events. Alas, the Vilnius-based human-rights organizations, like European and international Jewish organizations, again failed to monitor last week’s central-Vilnius event. The small Defending History team was the only one on hand last Sunday, February 16th, to monitor, and DH, as usual, reported on the march, after having reported on its planners’ vow to highlight three specific collaborators. Vilnius’s prestigious Old Town, from the Gates of Dawn to the foot of Castle Mount, was allocated by authorities to the marchers for their dusk-to-evening slot of the Independence Day public festivities.

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Doyen of Litvak Rabbis, Chaim Kanievsky, Signs Impassioned Plea to Save Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from Convention Center Project



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION

The doyen of Litvak rabbis internationally, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, nephew of the legendary Chazon Ish of Vilna, signing the rabbinical court’s decree forbidding a convention center at the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. Full text below. Photo courtesy of Chaya Fried.

 

VILNIUS—The doyen of Litvak rabbis internationally, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, is among the signatories on a decree issued by the leading Litvak rabbinic court in Bnei Brak, Israel, the court of Rabbi Nissim Karelitz (1926-2019), concerning plans to erect a national convention center via conversion of a derelict Soviet building that lies in the center of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius).

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Dieckmann & Vanagaite Book Scores €10,000 from Lithuanian Gov. Fund On Top of $20,525 from Crowdfunding



VILNIUS—In November 2018, Defending History raised some questions about a crowdfunding campaign for a new book by Professor Christoph Dieckmann, a longtime member of the Lithuanian government’s “red-brown commission,” in partnership with bestselling author and Holocaust truth-teller Ruta Vanagaite. The article is reproduced below unchanged for speed of reference.

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Hundreds of Far-Right Marchers Chant “Škirpa and Noreika Are Our Heroes” in Vilnius Old Town on Independence Day



  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  MARCHES SECTION  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

VILNIUS—While local and international human rights organizations ignored the gifting of Vilnius Old Town to far-right marchers glorifying Holocaust collaborators, Defending History’s small team, comprising Evaldas Balčiūnas, Dovid Katz and Julius Norwilla were on hand to monitor the event. The dusk-to-nighttime torchlit procession today started at the Gates of Dawn, with participation of Catholic officials, and made its way downhill through Castle Street, stopping to pay homage at the plaque to Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika, and continuing on to the final destination of the former Škirpa Street (renamed Tricolor Street, after a long campaign started a decade ago by Defending History). Kazys Škirpa, though in Berlin at the time of the Holocaust, was a theoretician of the ethnic cleansing of Lithuania’s Jewish population, and an effective inspirer and cheerleader of local participation in the genocide.

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Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder


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THE LATEST

Reviews of Bloodlands

Reviews of Black Earth

Instrumentalization?

2012   2013   2014   2015   2016

This journal holds leading historian Professor Timothy Snyder (Yale University) in the highest esteem, and trusts that this select list of reviews taking issue with aspects of Bloodlands of direct concern to DefendingHistory.com will not be taken amiss. It does not include reviews which have engaged in personal attack or pursued grudges, or which focus on other issues.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Australia, Books, Double Genocide, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Respectfully Disagreeing with Professor Timothy Snyder